Here's what I've got for you today:
- Twiga Foods' CEO wants to take a 6-month sabbatical
- Jumia Food to exit Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda
- MAKA's $2.65m pre-seed
Twiga Foods' CEO wants to take a 6-month sabbatical
Twiga Food has announced that its CEO, Peter Njonjo, will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on personal matters after he described the year as “an intense 2023.”
Twiga's COO, Laurent Gouault, will oversee operations and business, while Zuber Momoniat (CFO) will handle finance and legal duties.
This news comes one week after a Kenyan court gave the company four months to resolve its dispute over unpaid bills with cloud services provider Incentro Africa.
Incentro alleged Twiga owes $450,000, including a delayed bonus from Google, while Twiga contended the amount is $94,000.
Twiga's financial difficulties during its transition from rapid expansion to profitability resulted in missed monthly payments on a three-year, $3 million contract for Google cloud services mediated by Incentro.
For context, in October 2023, the Google cloud reseller's attempt to sell Twiga Foods for an alleged KSh39 million ($261,878) debt failed due to temporary orders obtained by Twiga Foods, which prevented Incentro from moving forward with the liquidation plan.
However, Incentro increased its claim against Twiga from $261,878 to over $450,000. The updated figure includes $92,000 in Google bonuses for additional unpaid services due to Twiga's delayed approval of the work.
Be the smartest in the room
Following the expiration of a previous deadline, the court will hear the case on March 13, 2024.
But the eCommerce company, in November 2023, said it had raised undisclosed funds from TLcom Capital Partners, DOB Equity, Juven, and Creadev to clear the debts.
In August 2023, Twiga reduced its headcount by about 283 staff — one-third — of its 850 permanent employees due to challenging market conditions.
Jumia Food to exit Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda
Jumia will shut down its food delivery service, Jumia Food, in Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Uganda, and Algeria, by December 2023.
The eCommerce giant says it will now concentrate on its core physical goods business and the Jumia Pay platform across its 11 countries of operation to reach profitability.
Although Jumia Food accounted for 11% of Jumia's Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the first nine months of 2023, the company has struggled to turn a profit since its founding.
Some backstory: Since 2022, Jumia has been aggressively cutting costs. The company's primary objectives have been to maintain profitability and optimise the use of capital and resources since Francis Dufay became CEO.
For context, after spending three months as Acting CEO, Dufay became CEO in February 2023.
The eCommerce startup stopped Jumia Prime in all of its markets, discontinued its food delivery Service in Egypt, Ghana, and Senegal, halted logistics-as-a-service in all but Nigeria, Morocco, and the Ivory Coast, and reduced first-party groceries in Algeria, Ghana, Senegal, and Tunisia.
It also slashed its headcount, discontinued regular grocery items, and reduced non-eCommerce delivery services.
Meanwhile, some online food delivery companies — Chowdeck and Glovo — are expanding their operations in Nigeria. Last week, Chowdeck announced its partnership with Shoprite, three months after Glovo partnered with the retail giant.
MAKA's $2.65m pre-seed
What’s the news? MAKA, an African fashion and beauty social commerce platform, has announced its $2.65 million pre-seed round to grow its workforce, improve its operations, upgrade its technology, and strengthen its ties to Ghana and Nigeria.
Who are the investors? 4DX Ventures and Janngo Capital co-led the round with other investors, including Palm Drive Capital and angel investor Jonathan Shipman, who participated.
What does the company do? Founded by Diana Owusu-Kyereko (CEO) — ex-CEO of Jumia Ghana and ex-CCO of Jumia Kenya — in 2021, MAKA is a social commerce platform that enables users to discover products that fit their style through live try-on hauls, reviews, and user-generated content.
The company, which uses interactive video to foster trust between users and content creators, provides a review feature that lets users share their thoughts through 30- to 60-second videos that they have created after making a purchase. These reviews impact other users' purchasing decisions by offering insightful information.
Since its launch, the social commerce platform has reportedly garnered more than 500,000 downloads through its initial strategy of interacting with creators through live sessions. Nevertheless, since launching its user-generated content model two months ago, the startup has generated over 2,000 reviews.
In case you missed it
- Flutterwave's new hires, Jumia Food's shutdown, and Nigerians doing badly on Coursera
- Ivorian healthtech startup, Susu, raises $4.9 million in funding to expand into new markets
- Bolt Nigeria to give ₦10,000 fuel subsidy bonus to support drivers in Lagos and Abuja
- Meet the 12 African startups selected for the second cohort of the Techstars accelerator programme
- Facebook and Instagram content creators in Kenya can now monetise their audience
What I'm reading and watching
- Spotify is testing AI-generated playlists
- AI’s Single Point of Failure
- Sin Involves More Than You Might Think (We'll Explain)
- Sporty Group is looking for a Senior Data Scientist. Apply here.
- LifeBank is hiring a Product Designer. To apply, check out this post by December 15.
- Remote is looking for a remote product designer. Apply here.
- Lawyers Hub has opened applications for its 2023 Startup Law Accelerator program. Apply here.
- Do you live in Nigeria and work with a local or foreign company? Whether it's remotely, on-site, hybrid, full-time, part-time or as a freelancer, @TheIntelpoint is trying to understand the Nigerian workspace: how you work, and toxicity in the workspace among others. Please, fill out the questionnaire here.
- If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.
Have a good time this weekend!
Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.